[OSM-talk] Joint statement from Quincy Morgan and the OpenStreetMap Foundation’s Board, regarding iD development

john whelan jwhelan0112 at gmail.com
Mon May 3 21:48:24 UTC 2021

I wonder if we are limiting ourselves by saying they must have the
following experience:

What we really need is someone who can communicate well and understand the
end user requirements.  In my experience this is much more important than
having coding skills in XYZ.  These can be learnt.  One problem I saw with
computer science graduates was their inability to grasp what the end user
really required.  My best two resources were a secretary who did a one year
course in programming then she ended up with me for some work experience.
I could teach her the programming no problem but her soft listening skills
were excellent.  She could pick up on things I missed in a meeting.  The
other one was a construction worker who had run projects in the
construction industry.   In Canada most construction closes down over the
winter months and the workers go on unemployment.  He was given the choice
of no benefits or retrain as a programmer.  Again he got picked up on work
experience and with his project management experience it worked well.  It
still took him a couple of years to get really proficient in the particular
programming language we were using.

One of the ways that could be used to bypass the restrictions on hiring
someone was to find an obscure programming language that was still on the
federal government books then request experience in that.  The tale is
still told of a student who arrived and on their first day was taken from
person to person to gain experience in the subject.  An hour each and at
the end they indicated on their application form they had experience in
three different things which allowed them to be screened in.

I suggest if you want someone to stay then if you can avoid a new graduate
who will be looking to gain experience before moving on.  Have you thought
about career progression?  Programmers are basically often put in a dead
end job.  If you're the only programmer then there are no promotions.  Have
you thought about talking to the Nepal or other group and paying them to
take responsibility for id?  That way the programmer would have others to
talk to about problems and if the workload suddenly grew or the programmer
needed maternal or parental leave there would be someone to cover for them.

I picked up a number of programmers who lost their jobs when the software
they were familiar with disappeared when the mainframe hardware was
replaced.  It took them a couple of weeks to come up to speed but they were
solid and very experienced programmers.

I suggest experience in using Visual Studio in a development environment
would be advantageous.  The debugging and testing tools mean the programmer
can be much more productive.  I understand there are religious arguments
against using Microsoft tools but they are very effective and if my memory
serves me correctly there are tools in there for optimising the code.
Translation it will work using fewer resources or on cheaper machines.

Cheerio John

On Mon, May 3, 2021, 15:57 Tobias Knerr <osm at tobias-knerr.de> wrote:

> On 27.04.21 21:05, Mateusz Konieczny via talk wrote:
> > Are there plans to find maintainer who would be taking care of iD
> > without expectation of
> > full time development?
> We are open to multiple options, including a full-time maintainer or
> several part-time people – we would make this dependent, in part, on
> what arrangements potential candidates are interested in. (Check my
> recent my message to osmf-talk as well.)
> If the goal would be just to bridge the time until we have found a
> candidate (or candidates), I'm not sure someone who isn't already
> actively working on iD core code to ramp up quickly enough for this to
> be practical. As you say, the situation may be different for the
> auxiliary repositories:
> > Also maybe a separate maintainer for
> > https://github.com/openstreetmap/id-tagging-schema
> > would make sense and make easier to find full time developer for iD?
> Personally, I feel it could make a lot of sense to give commit rights to
> existing volunteer contributors of such repositories, both to reduce
> disruption until a replacement for Quincy has been found (by preventing
> a backlog of issues and PRs from building up) and to perhaps to continue
> assisting the future maintainer.
> _______________________________________________
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> talk at openstreetmap.org
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